Friday, December 31, 2010

It's January

Just like that! Here we are!

Nothing much to add to that besides: I almost lost my phone yesterday on the 158 bus to Fort Lee. My phone! With all my numbers in it! Do you know how many brilliant/entertaining/sexy people are attached to those numbers??? And I know I could have sent that mass email asking everyone for their numbers, but that kind of thing is so awful for me to even think of, my notions of decorum and propriety being grotesquely overdeveloped.

So, understanding that losing my phone would mortify me, refusing to enter 2011 with a social and professional clean slate, I crossed the street and waited for the bus, which terminates in Fort Lee, to loop around and head back to wherever it goes after the route is over. (I am not sure where that is. It probably doesn't go all the way back to the Port Authority, but it might.) It came back bearing a banner that said NO PASSENGERS, so I ran up to the door and waved my arms and yelled. The driver pointed to his ceiling and said, "Read the sign!" the way bus drivers do. I said, "No! No, I LEFT SOMETHING IN THERE!" and so he shrugged and let me run inside. It was on a seat in the back that I found my phone, sitting upright like a commuter, waiting for me to claim it. "You're blessed," the driver told me, laughing, as I ran triumphantly out again.

I was so happy that I got a haircut right away. Here are the results of that:



Happy New Year, all. I love you.

ETA: I've been trying for an entire week to post an mp3 here but the file host is being bullshit, so you get nothing. If you can, find a song called "11:59 It's January" by Scrawl, download it, and then play it while reading this.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From Brooklyn

Throughout my childhood my stepfather, Tom Clack, ran a sound effects studio. Every Christmas that I can remember, our family have listened to a holiday mix tape made in 1980 by a guy, Doug DeFranco, who was Thomas's engineer. (Just yesterday, Thomas told me that Doug also scored the first-ever MTV bumper, with the spaceman -- if that's true, a super big deal!) They lost touch and I don't think I ever met him, which is a shame.

I love the 1980 Doug DeFranco Christmas Tape -- "Accept No Substitutes," the label on the original warned -- which was burned onto a CD years ago and which I have saved in my iTunes library. The songs on it are mostly classics, good classics but still, ones you probably don't need to hear again: Run Rudolph Run, Sinatra singing Jingle Bells, couple of Phil Spector Christmas tracks, "Blue Christmas (To Whom It May Concern)" by Miles Davis and Bob Dorough. I love it less for the songs than for the care he took in making it a perfect mix tape, before I knew what a mix tape even was. My sister and I know every note and sing phrases from each song to each other, the Beatles' Christmas record from 1967 featuring "Plenty of Jam Jars, Baby" being a particular favorite.

There's but one song on the comp that's excitingly rare -- "Merry Christmas From Brooklyn," by Emerson Bimby and the Cadman Kids. Cursory web searching reveals that Emerson Bimby is/was a name used by musician D.B. Fisher, but the origins of this song are not readily apparent; indeed, I don't have any info at all on it and I'd love to hear from anyone who does. ETA: I realize this might be a known song and I am just ignorant about it -- if so, tell me! It is included on DeFranco's tape along with a warm intro by DJ Vin Scelsa at WNEW, which I present also. My parents tell me that when I was three/four years old and I heard him describe the state the station's Alvin and the Chipmunks record was in, I would wail in anguish every time.

Anyway, this is for you, dear Christmas Day blog reader of mine. The quality isn't great, but I think you'll enjoy it anyway, and I hope love and fun-ness find you wherever you are.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Word Twist Thoughts, Part LVII

Word Twist is a game you can play on Facebook, my proficiency in which I like to use as intellectual currency in some of my friendships. Should I hesitate to call these people "friends"? Anyway, I play Word Twist so much that there are a bunch of words I score with in Word Twist whose meanings have remained, nevertheless, unknown to me. Today is the day my lazy ass looks up all those words so I can a.) become smarter and b.) feel like I did something today. Most importantly, this will probably indirectly contribute to my getting better at Word Twist. And here they are.

***

BEY: (n.) a provincial governor in the Ottoman Empire.

GAR: (n.) Also called garfish, garpike. any predaceous freshwater fish of the genus Lepisosteus, of North America, covered with hard, diamond-shaped scales and having long jaws with needlelike teeth.

HOD: (n.) I'm actually embarrassed I didn't know this one -- a hod is the same thing as a coal scuttle. I mean, you know what THAT is, of course.

NETT: (adj.) This is an alternate spelling of "net" as in "net profits."

RANI: (n.) (in India) 1. the wife of a rajah. 2. a reigning queen or princess.

SETT: (n.) 1. Also called pitcher. a small, rectangular paving stone. 2. Also called stake. a hand-held tool that is struck by a hammer to shape or deform a metal object. 3. Also, set. the distinctively colored pattern of crisscrossed lines and stripes against a background in which a Scottish tartan is woven. <-- WINNER, MOST INFURIATING WORD

SOH: (n.) music (in tonic sol-fa) the name used for the fifth note or dominant of any scale. <-- ALSO INFURIATING; EVERYONE KNOWS THIS IS SPELLED "SOL"

TOLE: (n.) enameled or lacquered metalware, usually with gilt decoration, often used, esp. in the 18th century, for trays, lampshades, etc.

UMBEL: (n.) Botany. an inflorescence in which a number of flower stalks or pedicels, nearly equal in length, spread from a common center.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Incomplete List Of Songs That Tend To Make Me Cry Slightly

Sail Away - Randy Newman
Martha - Tom Waits
Just A Closer Walk - Patsy Cline
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot
Let It Be - (as sung by) Aretha Franklin
Never Make Me Cry - Fleetwood Mac (**IRONICALLY)
The Way You Look Tonight - (as sung by) Fred Astaire

Do any of you have any? I have more, but they are even more embarrassing than these, so they have been excluded.

Monday, November 15, 2010

MUST BLOG IT

Yeah, but who blogs at night? I pretty much never do, that's for sure. (It is 11:40 PM as I write this.)

Tomorrow is the closing on my apartment in NYC. It's taken a long time to get here, with many trials and tribulations, but life feels okay. I guess the best/worst part is that even this event, something I looked forward to so much for so long ("looked forward to so much" = "was at times desperate for") feels not like the culmination of an experience, but like the beginning of one. I can look for new, better jobs; find a new apartment to buy that I can actually afford; spend more time with people I like. Also -- and this is why this whole post exists right now -- I'll do more work on my projects. It sucks that I have no new stories or essays or novels right now and haven't since like February, but taking an extended break from writing has been necessary. I think now it won't be anymore.

All in all, I'm not too mad at myself for the break, only the right amount of mad that will get me to start writing again. If success really is measured by what you have done with the resources available to you, rather than the net amount of your achievements/money/fame (I like to think this is true), then do you know what? Slogging up Route 9 on foot carrying a camera, scan/copying old coursebooks with a Canon printer, endeavoring to define "skronk" in unique words, looking presentable in T-shirts from 1999 until more money comes in, gazing at the Lackawanna clock tower over the top of a pint glass... I am a success.

We had a lecture at JCAS today about autobiography in fiction and essays. Writers have it hard sometimes, because they feel their worth is wrapped up in their thoughts, their ability to translate those thoughts into something others didn't know before. I do believe the better a "translator" someone is, the better they are as a writer. But the worst thing for a writer isn't to be obtuse, it's to be dishonest. So, I will continue to say honest things here and everywhere else my voice ends up, even if it's the very least I can do, like now. And then, eventually, I will be able to do more.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Past

Here is a comic I drew 11 years ago for a paper zine -- I just found it in my desk drawer when I was rummaging around. Today is a pensive day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Main Thing To Do

...is to do the crossword online. Why not? I mean you don't have a newspaper in front of you.

If you type Washington Post into Google instant search, "Washington Post crossword" is the first thing that comes up. See? It's so easy!

Life has been bumpin' along. If you're curious about what I ate for dinner tonight, the answer is curried okra.

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Of These Types Of Stuff

A couple of weekends ago I went to New Brunswick, and here is what happened.

















Tuesday, August 31, 2010

JCAStuff

So, the Writers' Seminars at JCAS are going wonderfully. The next one, part 1 in a 2-parter about verse and prosody, will occur on Sept. 13th at Jersey City Art School at 7:30 PM. So, youze all have a week to get amped and have Labor Day, BUT THEN YOU MUST BECOME SERIOUS.

***

I don't know what to put here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kids

Weird moment on the subway today when I heard two young people, a boy and girl both around 19, discussing the movie Kids (1995, dir. Larry Clark). The boy had seen it and the girl hadn't. "It's about teenagers in New York in the nineties," he said. "It's just really interesting because there's so much going on: drugs, AIDS, social hierarchy..." She seemed impressed. Earlier, I had been to the registrar at NYU to get them to send one of my transcripts to a place where I'm applying for a job. Naturally, that reminded me of when I was in college, which was 1995 through 1999.

I saw Kids in the theatre the summer before my freshman year began; by the time I started classes at Tisch everyone there was abuzz about screenwriter/filmmaker Harmony Korine, who'd come out of my program and was its most recent success story. I didn't like the movie at all -- to me it felt false and alarmist and exploitative. I used to remark that there'd be a time when Kids would be to the '90s what Saturday Night Fever was to the '70s: perceived as kitschy and shallow. It's weird to me, then, that this boy (who I can assume grew up in New York City, the way I did) likes it. It's weird also because when I was a kid and the film was coming out I wanted to like it. It was supposed to be about me and my friends. But no, the people in it were just bad and soulless and had no love for each other and nobody was likeable, it was just drugs and sex and having a depressing orgy at the public swimming pool. Luckily I didn't have many friends like that, I guess, or perhaps I was just being defensive: "That's not how it really is!"

The prevailing feeling I come away with is not bitterness, though, it's nostalgia. We talked about this film's place in history, back when we were film-school pups, and now it is history. Just like so many things.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Never Not Philosophical

It's all grist for the mill, you know.

***

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Journalstuff

I carry notebooks around with me. They all contain the same mix of material: drawings, drafts of prose pieces, and "morning pages" or m.p.'s consisting of general logorrhea. Lately I've felt that it's time to stop writing in notebooks so often. My opinion right now is that they've become too precious; I've been blind to the fact that they are inferior to the polished thing -- the story or essay or whatever else (panel cartoon, WHFR show). I tend to hoard them once they are done and there are really a lot of them clogging up the shelves by now, all full of frivolousness.

Still, now and then I'll look back on one and get inspired. Here is a bit from the one I've had for the past year, which I'm now almost at the end of.



Monday, July 26, 2010

Updatery

Beginning in mid-August, I'm going to be leading some talks on literature and craft at Jersey City Art School. If you're a reader of this blog who lives in the NYC/NJ area, and have a couple of hours free on Monday nights, it would mean a LOT to me if you'd come out. This will be great fun! Hit me up for more details, or just watch various places on the internet as the time draws nearer. (Talkin' 'bout like FB, Twitter, here, and I suppose that's it.)

Last week I had a semisurprise visit from two of my great friends, KG and SS. Impressed by the sort of old-fashioned look of the living room, which has the desk as its central focal point, Sarah said, "If this was my desk, I'd feel like I was Thomas Jefferson writing the Constitution." We all snickered. But so be it.

BPGOIT IS IN ACTION RIGHT FREAKING NOW

***

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Q.E.D.

Sorry for the lateness.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BPGOIT To Follow In Like 12 Hours Or So

I'm sitting at my desk at work right now and am suddenly like, FUCK, I forgot to draw a Bipolar Glass of Iced Tea cartoon yesterday. SHIT. This is the WORST.

So, there will be one tomorrow. Get pumped.

Love,
Amanda

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Adorable

Just got off the phone with Jenny, a lady who lives in my parents' old building on the Upper West Side. When I was a teenager I babysat for her now-grown daughter, and these days I walk her dog once a week.

The last time I came to her place, the note she'd left me read, "Don't be alarmed by the bird in the box!" Yes -- when I looked around I found a shoebox with a little bird inside it, a young blue jay that wasn't blue yet. Jenny is, like, an amazingly tenderhearted person and I guess she "rescued" the bird because she thought it was hurt. This was on one of those days last week that was dangerously hot, too.

So I asked her about it today: "How's the bird doing?" "Oh!" she cried. "It went back to its mom!" Apparently the bird experts she contacted (these people do exist in the city; they're the ones who hunt for lost parrots and all that) told her to just set it free again in the same place where she found it. She was all scared that it would be abandoned, because she had already touched it.

Know this! The notion that birds won't take back their young after humans touch them is a myth!

So, yeah, Jenny put the little blue jay back under the tree where she found it; it flopped around; after five minutes or so the mother blue jay came along and checked on it. And it looked like they made plans to just go back to the nest in a minute after the baby had finished flying practice for the day. Its two-night stay at Jenny's animal hotel had left it none the worse for wear.

Urban wildlife buffs, I hope you have found this story adorable. I did.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ideas That Are Happening

35-ISH DUDE IN BAR LAST EVENING (to Yorkshire Terrier running around on the floor): Hey, come here, Jameson! Jameson! Come on, get over here!
60-ISH DUDE, THE OTHER ONE'S FATHER: Ahh leave him alone, he's drunk.

***

Oh hey, I have been blogging some for WFMU's Beware of the Blog. It's fun times and if you'd like to look at the posts they are easy to find on the site. Go to http://blog.wfmu.org and click under "Categories" on the left where it says Amanda Nazario's Posts.

I'm also working on some essays and things which are hard to talk about here because they're not finished. They're good, don't worry.

It's high summer now, and cool, emotionally volatile refreshments are on everyone's mind. What perfecter time, then, for the Bipolar Glass of Iced Tea's triumphal return to these blog pages? I ASK YOU!

Jameson, get over here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Should Also Mention That I'm Now Moved Into My New Apartment

Exactly one year ago, I wrote/drew this EXTREMELY SAPPY cartoon essay. Today seems like the perfect day to share it with all of you. Hope you enjoy. (You can click on each image to enlarge it.)

Oh yes! Please know too that the BPGOIT will be returning next week for his regular Monday engagement. I have the use of my scanner again is why.

***





















Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dad

Happy Father's Day, everyone!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pidge

Hey, look who I met this morning whilst walking across Montgomery Street! He seemed to have fallen or wandered out of one of the nests that's up against the abandoned building. You know the building I mean. The one with the pigeons' nests all over it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Truth

I've been looking at new JC homes for myself while living in a shared sublet that's a couple of steps underground and very cold. The notion I keep coming away with, after considering each new property, is: it's possible to be happy, or unhappy, pretty much anywhere. But I feel I have a better chance of staying happy in Jersey City than in most other places I've been. So I'm in good shape.

Many cute dogs live in downtown Jersey City, particularly many Huskies.

Too, there is good ice cream to be found.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Upper right kitchen cabinet contents, 1999 - 2010

5 phone chargers
Dale Earnhardt Jr. car-shaped air freshener
3 pairs of headphones
"Coby" brand portable CD player
Charger for a PalmPilot
Canister of zip-ties for fastening a bike onto a car rack
Talking Mr. T keychain
A box of Whip-its
Charger for a beard trimmer
Bitter apple spray to discourage puppies from chewing furniture
A toaster
Birthday candles shaped like PBR cans
Mini-screwdriver set
"Silvo" brand silver polish
2 packets of toothpicks
A keg pump
A small stockpile of canned food, from when I assumed the end of the world was coming

I discarded all but three of these items. Can you guess which ones?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Developments

There are some. I'm moving into a sublet in Jersey City in April -- that's the main one.

Another of them is, I'm doing a reading tomorrow night (Sunday, 3/21) at the Ding Dong Lounge! It begins at 7:30 PM and I hope very much to see you there.

"Professionalism": I don't have a lot of it. And yet, due to my "elbow grease," I manage to succeed?

This afternoon on the subway I caught a woman picking her nose and marveled at her devil-may-care attitude.

A lot of Cadbury Creme Eggs have been bought, few of which ever make it home. Before I eat them, I mean.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

WFMUthon

This week, in addition to packing, painting, and negotiating with contractors, I am working at WFMU during its annual fundraising "marathon." I love WFMU. Do you love it also? Do you love things that are good?

Go here to donate a bit of your dough to WFMU so it can stay on the air. Via that link you can also listen to it, and believe me, you won't be sorry.

I have been entering data into the system stating who donated and how much. Here I am singing along to an A.C. Newman song while waiting to take pledges over the phone.

video

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Packstravaganza

There's probably a lot to say as I pack up most of the books, drawings, tapes, handwritten notes, etc. I've accumulated in the past ten years, throwing about 20% of them away. I just don't have time to say it all right now. I will ask: when and why did I make this?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

About My Job

My job is weird.

A girl at my job said she thought I was twenty-seven so I was like yaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Sometimes, when I'm in a recalcitrant frame of mind, my job frustrates me very much.

At other times, I am happy to be at my job, because it's so easy to be quiet and unassuming there.

I enjoy the company of most of the other wretched drudges at my job.

At my job we use a timeclock to clock in and out. (Yes, spell check, I agree that "timeclock" is a dumb, redundant term.) The other day as I left work, I told myself I was going to "clock out with my cock out." Then I laughed to myself. Nobody heard it.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Sunday Sunday

Hey, you should read this column in the Johnsonville Press, a rag out of Rutgers. The piece was written by Ben Kharakh, who is one of my most glib and charming friends. (In writing, anyway. Ho-ho.)

All I want to do right now is be asleep. Winter, am I right? Yeah, this guy knows what I'm talking about.

Wilco = I skip the song so my last.fm profile might someday get less embarrassing. Uncle Tupelo = I turn the song way up and mess up my Word Twist game by singing along lustily.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This Has Been BS (News)

Various types of BS in life have meant that I haven't been writing or posting for a little while. Please still like me.

My apartment will soon be listed as for rent on a real estate site. I'm extremely anxious about this -- not because I don't want to move, but because it's been a buttlong time that I have lived here and change is naturally scary. Isn't it? I love my apartment. But I'm a grown-ass woman who deserves to live and write in her own non-shared place, which she can afford, an't I? A: Yes. The move will be exciting, when it does finally occur.

I'm reading some books. A book I began reading is entitled Born To Be Good by Dacher Keltner. My godfather gave it to me for my birthday. It's not a literature book; it's a social science book. A literature book I began reading is two books in one, called Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West. It is/they are lovely and frightening. That one I borrowed from the "lending library" on Greene Street (just a bookshelf sitting out on the sidewalk with instructions taped to it) and will have to return when I'm done with it.

Earlier today I found a cartoon I drew a couple of years ago of two bunnies looking at each other. The first bunny is saying, "Happiness is a choice, Jason!" Above the second bunny's head is a thought balloon that says, "Trust-fund bitch."

I just watched a Netflix Instant View of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode. I found it soothing and got nostalgic for when I used to stay up late in high school and watch that show while eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's. I now feel I should make the end credits music of MST3K my bed music for when I talk during Nazario Scenario once, just to try it.

There is a Netflix DVD that just came of some Futuramas, but it's dirty and won't play. I'm going to try washing it gently like they say you're supposed to.

FINALLY: There has been some dining out with Helen and Diana, both lovely ladies of whom treated me to meals for my birthday.

I love those ladies.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Tell me many kind words dear."

(The subject line of a piece of spam I just received.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Contextual Obligations

Cultural products that reference older institutions mean something totally different to people who are unfamiliar with those older things. Does that mean postmodernism is dying, or does it mean it will continue forever?

OK: when I was a child, I witnessed the rise to superstardom of a pop singer named "Madonna." The adults around me understood that her name referenced a religious figure, but I didn't -- even though I went to a parochial school with a statue of the Virgin Mary out front, I heard the term "Madonna" used in reference to the religious icon only afterward, years after I knew who Madonna the singer was. (Yes, I know that's her real name, but that is not germane to this argument.) And even though I've since seen Madonnas in museums and now fully understand what they are, what they always were, my perception of them will always be colored a tiny bit by the existence of the other Madonna. Another example: when the Michael Bay film Armageddon came out, there were many young people who had never heard the term "Armageddon" used to describe the end of the world -- I'm sure those people, who are now adults, snicker inwardly when they hear it used in a serious context. (I was not among them, but I conjecture this is true.) These are kind of extreme versions of seeing something parodied in MAD magazine or, later, on the Simpsons, and having to go back and research the original work -- or just enjoying the parody in ignorance until finally stumbling upon the Hitchcock film or whatever in college.

It's interesting how this all bespeaks a collapsing of things into themselves and each other, another variation on humanity's fabled cultural melting pot. In some ways this is depressing; in other ways it's exciting. It used to bother me, but looking at it as a symptom of "everything becoming the same thing" makes me optimistic and happy, sort of. So how long before everything in the world is recontextualized and nothing exists solely in its original form? And what happens then?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

OK, I Am Home

You know? Sometimes I make word choice and usage mistakes that feel so incredibly stupid that I'm convinced I have a brain tumor. But then I realize it's only stuff like saying "interject" when I should say "interrupt" or "interface" when I should say "interact," and I may be the only one who sees the mistake who even notices it. And then I realize that I will have a good night's sleep tonight in my own bed, and then I feel amazing.

My orthography remains decent.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Nope,

Still not home yet. On Wednesday I will be, and won't it be grand?